12 lessons learned from the initial pilot round of Rabbit Plane

Sophia Lee

Founder & Chief Executive Officer

Here's a long overdue post listing the 12 lessons learned from the initial pilot round of Rabbit Plane, Culture Flipper's guided community translation & localization program, with the support from JOARA and Simple Steps Community Connection, run from Nov. 2022 to Jan. 2023 as our ambitious and naive attempt to democratize collaborative localization that our experts practice daily.

1. The educational component is just as critical as the mentors' localization expertise in ensuring Rabbit Plane's success.

2. We witnessed a significant demand for a group learning format with customized editorial coaching. In fact, 100% of our first round mentees enjoyed the hybrid learning format and expressed a strong desire for personalized guidance.

3. Mentees are willing to pay more for more intensive, tailored training.

4. Training modules should be divided into shorter segments and shared widely as self-paced courses, alongside mentors' personalized feedback on each mentee's translation homework.

5. Mentees should be grouped based on their geographic location and time zone to avoid scheduling challenges for synchronous meetings.

6. Class levels should be diversified and expanded to cater to the high demand for beginner-level localization and translation training.

7. We should reduce the weekly homework word count for mentees. Most mentees found 5,000 characters per week too much for a side gig, although we did have a couple of exceptions who said the volume was fine for them.

8. The cost of evaluating translations for culturally nuanced content at such a high volume exceeded our estimation.

9. We require an editorial tool that goes beyond industry-specific solutions. To be precise, we require a hybrid platform that integrates three tools: a CAT tool like Smartcat, a writing tool like Scrivener, and a terminology management tool like Kaleidoscope GmbH.

10. Despite their busy schedules and deadlines, freelancers crave stimulating human interactions, both online and in-person. We organized virtual and in-person coffee chats and lunch, and the feedback exceeded our expectations. Our mentees testified to its success.

11. Computer-aided translation (CAT) tools and machine translation integration were not as effective as we wanted it to be in assisting with web novel content, as web novels typically need a single narrator to maintain a consistent and idiosyncratic voice throughout the text, which cannot be achieved through segmented approaches.

12. Rabbit Plane must be reiterated in other language pairs.

rabbitplane #democratizeknowledge #collaborativelocalization #scaletheunscalable #vision2reality #wearecultureflipper